‘Tis the holiday season and time to find the best of the new cookbooks to gift your favorite foodie!

MOZZA AT HOME: More Than 150 Crowd-Pleasing Recipes for Relaxed, Family-Style Entertaining by award-winning chef and restaurant owner Nancy Silverton with Carolynn Carreño is a wonderful volume, geared for the home chef who wants restaurant quality translated into successful recipes.  Ms. Silverton is known for writing a great recipe and she does so in spades in this fabulous book with easy-to-follow recipes that can be prepared in advance (with no fancy restaurant equipment needed!) and are perfect for entertaining.  I like that the recipes are organized by meal, with each menu providing a main dish along with a complementary selection of appetizers and side dishes.  Who can resist sliced heirloom tomatoes with sweet onion dressing; flattened chicken thighs with charred lemon salsa verde; baked Japanese sweet potatoes with fried sage leaves and bacon; or four-layer salted chocolate caramel tart?

HOW TO BAKE EVERYTHING: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking by Mark Bittman is a MUST for anyone who likes to bake.  Mark Bittman is one of America’s best-known and respected cooking authorities who beautifully encapsulates so many culinary subjects for laymen and advanced cooks to understand.  In this work on baking, Bittman delves into the subject thoroughly covering the kitchen basics; quick breads, muffins, and biscuits; pancakes, waffles, and doughnuts; cookies, brownies, and bars; cakes, pies, tarts, cobblers, and crisps; frozen, puddings, and candies; crackers and flatbreads; yeast breads; savory baking; and frostings, fillings, and sauces.  This book is a must gift for any baker!

WHAT GOOD COOKS KNOW: 20 Years of Test Kitchen Expertise in One Essential Handbook from the Editors of America’s Test Kitchens is the ultimate book for your favorite foodie.  This amazing volume is an instructional tool that is fascinating and informative.  It is a handbook for everyone, no matter what their mastery of cooking level, which is not only useful in the kitchen, but the kind of cookbook you can take to bed at night and continue to learn new techniques, tips, and tricks to make cooking more successful and more fun.  I also like the equipment recommendations which are extremely helpful.

LAND OF FISH AND RICE: Recipes from the Culinary Heart of China by Fuchsia Dunlop concentrates on the wonderful food of the lower Yangtze region, known as the Jiangnan or “the land of fish and rice.”  The author has thoroughly explored this district and conveys the essence of the culinary tradition with wonderful recipes and beautiful, mouthwatering photographs.  Local cooks in this region, with Shanghai as its capital, have a splendid culinary tradition that emphasizes health, balance, and seasonality with exquisite dishes which include spinach soup with silken tofu and pork; Shanghai potsticker buns; red-braised fish; slivered pork with flowering chives: and Hangzhou eggplant with minced pork.

TASTE & TECHNIQUE: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking by award-winning chef Naomi Pomeroy with Jamie Feldmar is a fabulous book for your favorite foodie.  Chef Naomi demystifies complex dishes with a step-by-step approach to getting professional results.   Not only are the 140 recipes explained with ease, but the book also contains detailed sections on ingredients, equipment, and techniques.  Foodies will revel in the details provided to make each dish successful.  The photography in the book is outstanding as well and your mouth starts watering to see pictures of crispy fried egg with fresh corn polenta; sherry-glazed pork belly; balsamic braised short ribs; cocoa nib meringues with macerated summer berries.

BUTTER CELEBRATES! Delicious Recipes for Special Occasions by Rosie Daykin, the owner of the Vancouver Bakery Butter provides more than 100 recipes for every celebration, holiday, milestone, or special event worthy of a great baked good.  I like that the recipes are geared for novice and experienced baker alike with easy-to-follow recipes that are amazingly successful.  Whether it is a little cinnamon heart cookie for Valentine’s Day; bunny buns for Easter; apple-stuffed challah for Hanukkah; or orange gingerbread cake for Christmas, the recipes are clear, concise, and beautifully photographed.

POOLE’S: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner by Ashley Christensen is the debut cookbook for the chef/owner of seven Southern restaurants.  In this book, the author reinvents Southern food and puts her own signature on the celebrated dishes of the region.  She elevated deviled eggs with crème fraiche; she adds pomegranate and Pecorino cheese to charred Brussels sprouts; she tops heirloom tomatoes with crispy quinoa and anchovy dressing; she makes a short rib pot pie; and she serves up a toasted coconut cream pie with macadamia nut crust.

RAO’S CLASSICS: More Than 140 Italian Favorites from the Legendary New York Restaurant by Frank Pellegrino Senior and Junior with Joseph Ricobene is a blast from the past.  Rao’s is the famous restaurant in East Harlem where it is almost impossible to book a reservation.  It is the home of Manhattan’s famous celebrities and politicians with its own product line to boot.  Now you can make your own versions of Rao’s specialties in this new cookbook which includes such favorites as lobster fra diavolo; risotto Milanese; Rao’s famous lemon chicken; my grandmother’s stuffed calamari; and ricotta cheesecake.

COOKING SCHOOL: Mastering Classic and Modern French Cuisine by one of France’s most famous chefs, Alain Ducasse is a fabulous compendium of over 200 recipes with full-color, step-by-step photographs and expert instruction from the master chefs. Chef Ducasse operates a famous cooking school in Paris. In this beautiful gift volume, he presents a new, fully updated collection of fabulous recipes and expert lessons to give readers a complete culinary education! A must gift for your favorite foodie!

IT’S ALL IN THE TIMING: Plan, Cook, and Serve Great Meals with Confidence by acclaimed food writer and cooking instructor, Gail Monaghan demystifies seamless meal prep, teaching readers the how-tos and when-tos of recipes, by organizing each recipe into more than 20 well-crafted menus. I like that the book provides tips for meals that range from the easiest to prepare to the more complex holiday dinners. This book resonates with both neophytes and advanced cooks who can entertain with confidence, knowing that Ms. Monaghan has set the stage for success in the kitchen, down to the smallest details. The book also includes an additional section of bonus recipes, pantry essentials, and other secrets to culinary success. This book is a must for your favorite foodie this holiday season.

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